In 1967, inspired by the success of the James Bond novels, the secretive team of French explorers known as Les Scaphandrier seized upon the notion of introducing their adventures in literary form.
They unexpectedly commissioned an obscure American pulp fiction writer and gender confused exotic dancer, Emmitt “Lacy” LeBouf. His mission was to craft a series of men’s adventure stories using the actual exploits of the team as a rough template.
The fevered imagination of LeBouf, inflamed by a growing addiction to paint fumes, crafted a bizarre series of “Astonishing Aquanauts” pulp novels that are now quite rare, as most copies went unsold and were sent to Jordan by the Red Cross in 1978 as part of a Bedouin outreach program. The Bedouins, unimpressed, used the books as kindling for communal fires or to startle children. Several of the works were recently discovered in the Jordanian port city of Aqaba as part of a Western Memorabilia collection compiled by a fisherman named ShuShu. These books are sadly not for sale, although Mr. ShuShu will describe them in some detail for a nominal fee or a vigorous scalp massage.
As luck would have it though, number 27 in the series, “Kill, Mermaid, Kill, Kill, Kill!” was recently discovered at an Adult Novelty Shop in Palatka, Florida.
The badly worn copy had found new life as the pedestal for a disturbing sculpture of two body-builders molesting a manatee, but the interior pages were intact.
Reading the book in one sitting is not recommended and has been described by one appalled bibliophile as akin to swallowing a gallon of warm tapioca pudding laced with peach schnapps.
With that in mind, the estate of Les Scaphandrier now makes it available for the first time as a serialized novel.
Chapter One, “Mommy, Make it Gurgle,” will be presented free of charge through eliseandtheaquanauts.com in the near future.
As the legendary leader of Les Scaphandrier, Jules Valiance, once said, “make of it what you will.”
The creek is cool and flows gently. Its path twines in sudden curves and drops around a dense patch of brush. Scrub palmetto and bamboo. Low ground wet with mud and stagnant pools. High ground of white sugar sand. Minnows dart and the water is only deep enough to move. There are snakes, but rarely seen. The towering red ginger, taller than I, infests and chokes the land. We cut it, pull it, and shovel it out. This is an ideal nursery for the thin reeds and they fight to keep their land. The work is hard, to carry bundles of the water soaked stalks from the back to the curb, going up hill most of the way. On a hot day the sweat pours and the breathing comes hard. Ants, big ones with vicious tempers, pour out of dead wood. As the sun begins to set, the mosquitoes come out. The work is done then, as the land becomes too fierce to fight. We claim the land one yard at a time.
Our dog is big. Not the size of a horse, but certainly in the neighborhood of a fair-sized bantam weight wrestler. Over a hundred pounds and able to look me in the eye, paws on my shoulders, when he stands up. He's a good, big, dog. He, of course, uses our large, rambling backyard as his play area and lavatory. Frequently it looks as if an angry truck driver has defecated all over our lawn, in spiteful defiance of everything I hold dear, so every other day or so I must shovel the steaming piles of scat into the nearby bushes. My dog looks on, bemused. He has a big heart, a big grin, and a big poo. Wouldn't trade him for all of the lap dogs in Winter Park.
The Garden Theater in Downtown Winter Garden Florida presented L'Ange Avec Les Fleurs last night. Wonderful eruption of music, clowning, and a big French bear. Parked a few blocks away and enjoyed the car show...I could give a shit about cars but the atmosphere was a kitschy fun riff on middle aged gear heads obsessing on Detroit steel the way a pimply adolescent might fixate on Worlds of Warcraft. The theater is fantastic, a note-perfect trip back in time, and the play rocked on many levels.
The perfect grilled steak. Kosher salt. Pepper. Olive oil. A white hot grill. Three minutes. Let it rest for a minute. Three more minutes. Serve a minute later.